Addictive spiced nuts.

Addictive spiced nuts.

We’re spiced nuts fanatics around here. Every season we make pounds and pounds and pounds of them, that we eat ourselves and give as gifts. These are the nuts my kids beg for when the weather turns cooler, that we’re told we must bring to holiday gatherings, and that we can barely keep around the house because they are so addictively good.

This wonderful spiced nuts recipe has all the holiday flavor but only half the sugar. This is any easy technique, so simple even the kids can make them. Also good for holiday gift-giving.

We’ve spent many years honing the perfect recipe, which is dead simple and inherently flexible.

I borrowed the basic technique from the people at Cooks Illustrated, from a long time ago: beat an egg white with a little water, stir in a pound of nuts, add spices, and bake. It’s quick and easy and the results are terrific. There are other methods, involving corn syrup and stovetop cooking and other fussiness, and while the end result is tasty, the Cooks’ method is so simple my kids can follow it, and do.

This wonderful spiced nuts recipe has all the holiday flavor but only half the sugar. This is any easy technique, so simple even the kids can make them. Also good for holiday gift-giving.

I’ve significantly modified the recipe over the years. I slashed the sugar in half from where we started, because while sugared nuts are delicious, all that sugar makes me woozy (or at least it should), especially around the holidays. These are sweet, but not too sweet.

This wonderful spiced nuts recipe has all the holiday flavor but only half the sugar. This is any easy technique, so simple even the kids can make them. Also good for holiday gift-giving.

We’ve also done a lot of tinkering with the spice mix over the years. I like the traditional cinnamon, and the cayenne makes them gently spicy. (If you like heat, double the cayenne. My kids would kill me if I did that.) I adore cloves, so you’ll find them here. 1/4 teaspoon is just the right amount for me; feel free to omit if you don’t keep cloves on hand.

This wonderful spiced nuts recipe has all the holiday flavor but only half the sugar. This is any easy technique, so simple even the kids can make them. Also good for holiday gift-giving.

Any nuts will do: I used an equal mix of almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Hazelnuts and cashews are also good in this recipe.

A word of warning: keep these in a tightly sealed container, and preferably on a high shelf. They’re seriously addictive.

 

This wonderful spiced nuts recipe has all the holiday flavor but only half the sugar. This is any easy technique, so simple even the kids can make them. Also good for holiday gift-giving.

Not-too-sweet spiced nuts

1 pound raw mixed nuts (I used equal portions of almonds, pecans, and walnuts)
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Diamond brand; reduce to 1 teaspoon if using Morton)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine salt, spices, and sugar in small bowl. Whisk egg white and water together in mixing bowl. Add nuts; stir to coat. Sprinkle spice mixture over nuts and stir to coat evenly.

Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven. When cool, break the nuts apart and store in a tightly sealed container.

Today I’m joining in with some of my favorite bloggers on the web to bring you more holiday sweets and savory treats:

Holiday Sweets

Holiday Sweets

savory treats

Savory Treats

addictive spiced nuts

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57 comments

  1. Pingback: Gumdrops Recipe
  2. Sara K. says:

    These look yummy! I had planned to make some spiced nuts this year. It’s been years since I made them so I can’t even recall what’s in the recipe I used, but I think I may just try this recipe! 🙂

  3. Kristen says:

    These look so tasty. I may just have to make them for some Christmas parties I have coming up this weekend… Thanks for sharing!

  4. Lee Ann Roberts says:

    Another version I like is to put a pound of nuts in a mixing bowl, add a tablespoon (you can use less) of McCormick’s cocoa chile blend, and squirt on some honey – not much, just enough to make the seasonings stick to the nuts.

    Put a sheet of parchment paper in a baking pan, pour the nuts into the pan, and spread them into a single layer. Bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Taste one after they cool to make sure they’re cooked enough for your tastes.

  5. Rachel says:

    I’m glad you posted this! My dad is notoriously difficult to shop for, so I’ve resorted to food gifts for him for Christmas the past few years. He loves nuts, so I think these might be his Christmas present this year.

  6. Jenn says:

    We use a similar recipe and it does make great gifts for hard to shop for men.

    Don’t you love Penzeys spices! The difference they make is amazing.

  7. Tonja says:

    I’m making these now. Is the temp really 275 or is it supposed to be 375?? Looks so good so far, but it seems the oven should be hotter??

  8. Erin says:

    Anne, I made these tonight! The kids were literally stealing them every time I opened the oven. Needless to say, I’m going to have to go back to Costco and buy more raw nuts! Really, really good. But they took closer to 45 minutes. I’m going to put the oven on 300 next time.

    We are going to package them in half-pint canning jars with ribbon. If you want another edible gift, I highly recommend this granola. So amazing. http://food52.com/recipes/15831-nekisia-davis-olive-oil-and-maple-granola

  9. Rachel says:

    You solved my gluten intolerant food gift problem: all the kids’ godparents are now getting spiced nuts. Thank you! I just made my first two rounds tonight, and my multiple taste tests probably mean they’re as good as advertised 😉
    My only concern is what to do with all those egg yolks. If I used maple syrup instead of white sugar, could I skip the egg white? The last set of godparents are vegan, so I have two reasons for asking.

  10. Karlyne says:

    I just made these to take to our candlelight service tonight, along with mozzarella cubes, and what I need to know is this: where do I hide the rest of them so that I don’t eat them all when I get home? I’m afraid I might wake up in the middle of the night and finish them off if I know where they are. But, then again, I guess that’s not so bad, right?

  11. Karen says:

    These are so insanely good! I can’t stop eating them! Such craziness! I’ve been trying to lose weight by learning/practicing portion control. Umm, I have failed miserably with these nuts! 😉

  12. Noel Ferre says:

    I made these yesterday with pecans and they are delicious! I made one batch with less cayenne and one with more – something for everyone. Now I wonder if they’ll last through Christmas?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  13. Jennifer says:

    Hi Anne! I just wanted to let you know that I decided to make the addictive not-too-sweet nuts as my neighbors’ Christmas gifts this year. I also made additional jars for my mother in law, my mom, sister and a couple of good friends. Everybody LOVED them, including my kids and husband! I will be making these every Christmas, along with the regular cookies and apps that we like. I made mine with a bit more cayenne (and I’m wimpy with heat). Perfection! And I didn’t feel nearly as guilty eating nuts as I did eating cookies or chocolate. And the gift wrapping ideas are endless! Thanks for sharing. And I never miss your podcast : ) I have you and Liberty Hardy (from Bookriot) to thank for bring “One In a Million Boy” to my attention. Such a good read.

  14. These have been such a hit around here! I’ve made them for my dad the last two Christmases and they never last long. And I made them for a meeting for a group of women today and they were the only thing there where someone said I NEED THIS RECIPE. I use half the cayenne because I’m even wimpier about spice than your kids, apparently. I used a little shake of allspice today, too. Thanks for this great go-to recipe!

  15. Jewel ly says:

    Hi Anne!
    I love the recipe! Thank you for sharing. However, mine came out to be sticky. Is it suppose to be like that?

    • Anne says:

      If you like them sticky, that’s fine, but I prefer mine dry and crunchy. Keep going in a low oven until you get the texture you’d like (an additional 10-15 minutes won’t hurt anything. If it’s humid where you are right now, that could be the reason why this is necessary.

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